|Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D.|
Danielle Sheypuk is a licensed psychologist, specializing in the area of dating, relationships, and sexuality among people with physical disabilities. She currently practices psychology in New York City, where she obtained her Ph.D. from The New School for Social Research.
Dr. Sheypuk was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 2, when she was three years old, and she has used a motorized wheelchair since then. Her interest in the psychology of dating, relationships, and sexuality among people with disabilities began while she was in graduate school, where she uniquely combined her personal experiences and professional studies.While pursuing graduate studies, she once described her NYC dating and relationship experiences as “Sex and the City, disability style.” She began to address the difficulties that people with disabilities encounter in this frequently ignored yet extremely significant aspect of their lives. Although there have been many campaigns designed to improve public accommodations for people with disabilities, almost no attention has been paid to improving the quality of their romantic relationships.
Several published articles later, Dr. Sheypuk’s interest turned into a full-blown campaign after she snagged the title “Ms. Wheelchair New York” in 2012. “I used this title to speak out on a larger level to change society's negative views of the sexuality of people with disabilities, to promote healthy romantic relationships, and to make dating someone in a wheelchair both desirable and sexy,” Dr. Sheypuk told the press. Since then, she has found herself in demand from a variety of media focused on her particular area of expertise.
Combining her expertise with her personal experiences of dating, Danielle has provided a unique angle that has led to appearances in media venues as diverse as The New York Daily News, The Daily Mail (U.K.), SiriusXM Doctor Radio, WNBC’s Weekend Today in NY and WNBC’s New York Nightly News, and WOR Radio’s Valerie’s New York. Danielle was also video-profiled for the Yahoo! Shine Network’s Secrets to Your Success series. She has been interviewed for numerous podcasts, including Mperfect and Shrink Rap Radio.
Dr. Sheypuk has published in such journals as Quest, the national publication of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as well as Directions, the national publication of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy Association. Most recently, Dr. Sheypuk has applied her expertise in a number of prestigious academic settings, facilitating empowerment sessions among girls and women with disabilities, and among other audiences.
In mid-October, Dr. Sheypuk was guest-speaker at New York University’s Initiative for Women with Disabilities, speaking at the Young Women’s Program (ages 14-21), part of a three-week discussion series focusing on Self-Advocacy. More than 20 target-age women attended the dynamic, interactive session. “It was a terrific and enlightening afternoon,” said Dr. Sheypuk, “for me, as well as for the women and girls who shared stories of their life experiences and the barriers they are seeking to overcome.”
At a different level of discourse, Dr. Sheypuk was guest-speaker at her alma mater, The New School for Social Research, in New York City on October 28, engaging with nine Psychology doctoral students in a class titled “Working with Diverse Populations: Disability and Sexuality.” A sequel to this event will be an opportunity for Dr. Sheypuk to speak at a university-wide 2014 spring conference on issues of gender, sexuality, and intersectionality.
Dr. Sheypuk has also established an innovative private practice on the cutting edge of therapeutic intervention, offering consultations and treatment via Skype therapy. She treats a range of different issues from situational stressors and self-esteem improvement to anxiety, depression, and traumatic experiences. To learn more about Danielle’s private therapy practice, please visit her website at www.daniellesheypuk.com.